Frances Lake Wilderness Lodge News
Frances Lake Wilderness Lodge

News from Frances Lake






#30 - Review 2017:

Pristine wilderness at Frances Lake


Dear Friends and Guests

It is incredible how time flies: our 10th guest season at Frances Lake is already over. During the past few months we shared many memorable moments both with familiar repeat customers and charming first timers. This year in particular guests from all over the world were drawn to our remote wilderness paradise – people from rather exotic countries such as South Africa, the Azores, New Caledonia and the Philippines. We always love it when guests with their unique stories and personality bring the big, wide world to our secluded place. Thus, we learn a lot from faraway countries, but also hear many new aspects from countries we’re more familiar with. Although our guests have very different characters, professions and social positions, the connective element is always the fascination and love for nature.

Sunrise in front of the lodge Somewhere at Frances Lake Sunrise in front of the lodge

The tropical flair of many of our guests was very convenient, because summer at Frances Lake was rather chilly and humid. Particularly in early summer – June and July – guests had to be quite weatherproof. For our liking, the typical Yukon summer lasted just about two weeks in early August. The happy guests at that time are still raving about the sunny Yukon weather with pleasant temperatures, refreshing dips in the water and the balmy summer evenings by a crackling fire in front of the lodge.
The freakish weather also affected our animal observations. Sometimes our animal neighbours made themselves scarce, and sometimes it was a real safari. One guest group well remembers the terrific day with sightings of rare waterfowl, a hunting falcon, a lurking lynx, a peacefully browsing moose, as well as plenty of fish in the crystal clear water.
For the bald eagle family on the island in front of the lodge, the unsettled weather was not very beneficial. After successful incubation of the egg, unfortunately, the jolly youngster didn't survive fledging. Instead, we hope that our new resident in the main lodge's eaves, "Jimmy" the squirrel, continues to entertain us for another year with its sedulous activities and acrobatic gambols in front of the dining room's window.

Posing lynx Browsing moose Hunting falcon

(Guest photos Jessica Macdonald, see also her travel blog on our link page!)

Twice Martin has guided a guest group on multi-day canoe trips safely through the Yukon wilderness. As every year, our local Yusezyu River was paddled. A lovely trip and thanks to this summer's high water volume rather easier than normal. One of the highlights was certainly the cow moose and their calf we could observe for a long time quietly feeding on the nearby shore. In addition, a group of "chickakoos" and "sourdoughs" gathered together for an adventurous trip down the Liard River. Over a distance of 300 km the Upper Liard evolves from a little brook to a mighty river. Plenty of sweepers and log jams in the upper section resulted in many thrilling rides (and also some wet encounters…). Freakish weather produced marvelous skies and memorable scenes not to be forgotten easily.

Liard River: Watch for malicious obstructions! Liard River: Lunch break on the gravel bar Liard River: Lean back and enjoy


The past years at our remote home at Frances Lake went by very quickly. With great satisfaction we can look back to 10 successful lodge years without any accidents and a divers and fulfilling lifestyle.Andrea repairing the roof Andrea well remembers the physically demanding construction of our self-contained log cabin, as well as all the many renovation and improvement works at the main lodge, at the guest cabins and in the surroundings of the lodge. Thus, the many praising words from guests about the lovingly presentation and the personally dedicated management of the lodge fills her with great joy.

«Dear Andrea and Martin
Our stay with you in September 2017 will be forever remembered. 3 days in the best weather and you as the perfect hosts have surpassed all our expectations. Both Andrea’s culinary skills and Martin’s varied trip offerings made our stay unforgettable.
Once again a big 'Thank you' – we will everywhere be raving about you!»
(guest quote by e-mail)


Martin at work in his outdoor kitchen
Martin's formative moments during the past few years were the many exciting trips and excursions together with nature-loving people into the pristine Yukon wilderness. Animal observations, weather phenomena, the calm and quiet and pure beauty of nature, as well as all the many "unexpected surprises" – and all this in the midst of a most beautiful natural setting. For many guests such wilderness encounters are profound experiences providing food for thought that can be real eye-openers. This fills with gratitude and motivation. We are in the fortunate position to spend our career in a largely harmonious, cheerful and grateful environment.

Andrea basket weavingLife out here at Frances Lake has learned us to perform many tasks ourselves and with simple means, for shopping facilities and skilled professionals are few, far away and expensive. That's why over the years we became all-rounders with 101 professions: from auto mechanic, boat driver, chimney sweep, dish washer, electrician, facility manager, gas fitter, housekeeper, interior designer, joiner, kitchen manager, landscape architect, managing director, natural scientist, outdoor guide, plumber, quartermaster, radio operator, solar energy technician, tour guide, vendor, wood chopper, XC skiing instructor, Yukon expert to zoologist – and many more...

Martin installing a hot water heaterSeveral large projects like the implementation of a new solar energy system, the installation of a new big engine on our flagship "Beluga" or the redesign of our website needed a long lead time with thorough planning, so that on day X every little screw was in its right place, every hand movement sit and the final mouse click brought the desired result. We love physical work in the outdoors where we can see the result every night. Two of our favourite tasks are building trails and chopping wood. Over the years we've built many new trails in the vicinity of the lodge, or maintained old ones, in order that our guests can easier move around and enjoy the views. And chopping wood, as arduous it is, still is one of our preferred winter tasks, in order that we and our guests can always enjoy the comfy warmth of a crackling fire in the stove, in the kitchen, in the sauna or by a cozy campfire.

NAOC 2018Also next year the Yukon – and Frances Lake Wilderness Lodge – can offer a lot to visitors: from August 17 – 24, 2018 Whitehorse will be hosting the North American Orienteering Championships NAOC (for the first time north of 60!) and many orienteering enthusiasts from around the world are expected up here. Both athletes and spectators are encouraged to take the advantage and go discover the magnificent Yukon wilderness before or after the races – for example by coming to our lodge!
As a wilderness lodge is supposed to be, we're on a remote setting out in the wilderness. But now we'll be somewhat faster accessible, since Alkan Air has launched a regularly scheduled flight service between Whitehorse and Watson Lake (year-round, three times per week). For more details see our Getting Here page.
Slide Show Thomas SbampatoThis coming winter famous photographer Thomas Sbampato will be touring Germany again with his fascinating slide show «Canada Alaska – North of Normal». In preparation for his show, Sbampato has been visiting our lodge and his awesome imagery of Frances Lake can now be seen on stage and on large screen. The current show list is available here.
And as every year, in late January we'll present our lodge at the Swiss travel trade show FESPO in Zurich. Already now our full lodge and tour program 2018 is online. Don't hesitate to contact us by e-mail for reservations or if you have any questions.


Kind regards and have a nice winter,

Andrea & Martin Laternser


Andrea and Martin enjoying their freedom at Frances Lake


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